Creating a logo that becomes a meme, while others reap the financial benefit

Pakistani designer, minimalist, and self-confessed type-o-holic Owais Riaz (TwitterBehance, Facebook) created the logo meme of 2020 back in June, which reached the front page of Reddit several times it was so popular. It was a simple design, just "2020" made to resemble a middle finger at the year itself. 

This resonated with everyone who at that point were quite ticked off with lockdowns, fires, covid, toilet paper hoarding, protests, killer wasps and everything else. So the logo spread like wildfire, and it is still doing it. I discovered the other day that Sheshow are selling socks with Owais logo on it. 

Socks found at

Now Owais Riaz has also found that Shutterstock are selling his logo design in the way of images, without permission. Making matters worse, Owais Riaz can't find how to contact Shutterstock for a takedown request. 

This is all too common. Someone shares their work with the world, and the ones who reap the financial benefit from it is pretty much everyone else. Twitter, Facebook and Reddit helped spread it, and with that content they earned ad revenue. The shareable social media sites made the logo famous enough to then appear on socks and t-shirts and anything else you can think of out there, and Shutterstock artists sell variants of it as their own image. It's a double-edged sword, this viral fame, on the one hand we wouldn't know about Owais Riaz designs had he not shared them, on the other with the viral fame come the knock off artists. Best of luck in keeping your IP your own, Owais Riaz. I hope this article helps you get Shutterstock's attention. 

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